Retail giants Safeway and Albertsons have agreed to merge.

In a conference call March 6, Safeway’s president and chief executive officer, Robert Edwards, announced that AB Acquisitions, the parent company of Boise, Idaho-based Albertson’s LLC, will buy all outstanding shares of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway.

AB Acquisitions is controlled by Cerberus Capital Management LP, a private equity firm. The company is paying Safeway shareholders about $40 a share. At that stock price, the deal is worth about $9 billion, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.

The deal, whose finalization is pending regulatory approval, ends speculation about who might buy Safeway, which confirmed in February that negotiations for a possible sale were underway. Cincinnati-based retailer Kroger also was rumored to be interested in buying at least a part of Safeway.

In the new, merged company, Edwards will be president and CEO and Bob Miller, Albertsons’ CEO, will be executive chairman, Edwards said.

Combined, Safeway and Albertsons will be able to take their business to the next level, Edwards said.

“This enables our two companies to compete more effectively in an increasingly competitive landscape, providing lower prices, a better assortment of products and a better shopping experience for our consumers,” he said.

The new company will have more than 2,400 stores, 27 distribution facilities and more than 250,000 employees, according to a news release from Safeway and Albertsons. The merger is not expected to result in any store closings, according to the release.

Banners under the new company will include Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Albertsons, ACME, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw’s, Star Market, Super Saver, United Supermarkets, Market Street and Amigos.